Opinion

Council voting requires investigation

To the Editor,

Nanaimo City Council’s decision at their Oct. 29 meeting, to bring the South Nanaimo Lands within the Urban Containment Boundary, may turn out to be more costly to city taxpayers than the Port of Nanaimo Centre.

At that meeting, some 256 hectares of a 291-hectare project was brought into the UCB, thus reducing our urban density despite a loudly proclaimed official community plan goal of increasing it. Examining the circumstances surrounding the vote is instructive.

On Aug. 17 the city requested the Regional District of Nanaimo approve two UCB requests, one of them, the 256-hectare parcel mentioned above.

Despite a report stating that staff were “not able to make a technical assessment and recommendation on the South Nanaimo Lands proposal due to the complexity of the application and the information provided,” the board supported the city’s position on the UCB amendments.

This is tantamount to disavowing due diligence.

At the RDN board meeting of Oct. 2, the City of Nanaimo’s representatives on the RDN board agreed to a motion to move the Urban Containment Boundary.

At an Oct. 4 City of Nanaimo public hearing, these same RDN directors were charged with listening impartially to the arguments for and against the proposal to bring this huge chunk of rural land across the UCB.

Two-thirds of those at the hearing had already voted for the proposition at the RDN.

This is surely double dipping at its finest.

It is one thing to disagree on the substance of a decision.

It is quite another to find procedures actually permit what, to any ordinary citizen, could appear to be conflict of interest.

Such procedures demand investigation.

Ron Bolin

Nanaimo

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